NBC Touts President's 'To-Do List' for Containing Political Damage From ObamaCare

On Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander lifted talking points directly from an Organizing for Action email while reporting on the political fallout from ObamaCare: "With his signature law under fire, the President faces a daunting to-do list to resuscitate ObamaCare. Number one, fix the website....Number two, clear up confusion....Number three, keep Democratic allies on board....And finally, regain Americans' trust." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

In the OFA email, President Obama told his supporters: "I have just over three years left as president – and there's a lot left on my to-do list. That's why I want to talk with you....I want to cut through the noise and talk with you directly about where we're headed in the fight for change."

Co-host Matt Lauer introduced Alexander's report by declaring: "The Obama administration's taking some new steps to fix the troubled rollout of the new health care law." He frettted: "Can the website and the President's legacy be saved?"

Alexander began by observing: "This is new territory for President Obama, he's really never faced a crisis like this, a crisis of confidence in his very leadership. The flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act now threatening to undermine the future of his second term and his presidency."

Using nothing but administration spin, Alexander detailed each item on the supposed "to-do list":

>For "fix the website," he noted: "Administration officials now acknowledge they'd consider it a success if 80% of users can successfully buy plans online, according to the Washington Post."

>For "clear up confusion," he explained: "White house officials still need to convince insurers and state insurance commissioners to support the President's proposed fix to reinstate cancelled policies for those who want to keep them."

>For "keep Democratic allies on board," he referenced how "the President is inviting backers to join him on a conference call to shore up support." The Organizing for Action logo appeared on screen, but Alexander failed to cite the "to-do list" email from the group. A sound bite was included of Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi proclaiming her continued support for ObamaCare: "This is an issue that has to be dealt with, but it doesn't mean, 'Oh, it's a political issue so we're going to run away from it.' No, it's too valuable for the American people."

>For "regain Americans' trust," Alexander reiterated the President's waning popularity: "That is no easy task with the President's job approval and popularity both at record lows." However, rather than include a clip from one of Obama's critics, Alexander remarked that it was "A challenge punctuated by one of his top former advisors." A statement followed from David Plouffe: "You've got to implement this in a smart, effective way and regains peoples' trust that this is the right thing to do."

Wrapping up the report, Alexander sympathized: "And the great frustration inside this West Wing...is that until the website problem gets solved, it'll be nearly impossible...to move on to anything else, including one of the President's top priorities, which is improving the economy."


Here is a full transcript of the November 18 segment:

7:15AM ET  

MATT LAUER: The Obama administration's taking some new steps to fix the troubled rollout of the new health care law, but can the website and the President's legacy be saved? NBC's Peter Alexander's at the White House this morning. Hi, Peter.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Presidential Damage Control; ObamaCare Woes Plague White House]

PETER ALEXANDER: Hi, Matt. This is new territory for President Obama, he's really never faced a crisis like this, a crisis of confidence in his very leadership. The flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act now threatening to undermine the future of his second term and his presidency.

With his signature law under fire, the President faces a daunting to-do list to resuscitate ObamaCare. Number one, fix the website. With the administration's next self-imposed deadline less than two weeks away, tech teams are still scrambling to have the crippled site up and running for most uninsured Americans.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS [HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY]: The vast majority of users.

JAY CARNEY [WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY]: The vast majority of users.

TODD PARK [CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER]: The vast majority of Americans will be able to use the site smoothly.

ALEXANDER: Administration officials now acknowledge they'd consider it a success if 80% of users can successfully buy plans online, according to the Washington Post.

Number two, clear up confusion. After last week's private meeting with insurance industry CEOs, White house officials still need to convince insurers and state insurance commissioners to support the President's proposed fix to reinstate cancelled policies for those who want to keep them.

Number three, keep Democratic allies on board. Today the President is inviting backers to join him on a conference call to shore up support.

[ORGANIZING FOR ACTION LOGO ON SCREEN]

Meanwhile, many Senate Democrats are pushing for a legislative fix, just days after 39 House Democrats supported a Republican bill that the White House threatened to veto.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The bill is passed.

NANCY PELOSI [D-HOUSE MINORITY LEADER]: This is an issue that has to be dealt with, but it doesn't mean, 'Oh, it's a political issue so we're going to run away from it.' No, it's too valuable for the American people.

ALEXANDER: And finally, regain Americans' trust. That is no easy task with the President's job approval and popularity both at record lows. A challenge punctuated by one of his top former advisors.

DAVID PLOUFFE: You've got to implement this in a smart, effective way and regains peoples' trust that this is the right thing to do.

ALEXANDER: And the great frustration inside this West Wing, at least according to one Obama insider, is that until the website problem gets solved, it'll be nearly impossible, Savannah, to move on to anything else, including one of the President's top priorities, which is improving the economy.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Alright, Peter Alexander at the White House, thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC